How Power Diminishing Habits Might Be Holding You Back  | RedPandas Digital

How Power Diminishing Habits Might Be Holding You Back 

Good habits are a powerful force that can lead us to living the lives that we dream of. However, there are also power diminishing habits which hold us back. In this article, we’re going to reveal three difficult-to-notice power diminishing habits that might be holding you back.

There is no doubt that good habits are a powerful force that can drive you to achieve great things in life – almost on autopilot. Unfortunately it is also true that there are power diminishing habits which hold us back. Most of the time, these habits are unconscious.  

In this article, we’re going to reveal three power diminishing habits that might be holding you back as a leader in your career.

In particular, we’re going to cover:  

What Are Power Diminishing Habits?

Power diminishing habits hold us back as invisible chains  

If we think of power as a form of influence and we think of habits as regular behaviours which we engage in, then we can define power diminishing habits in the following way. 

Power diminishing habits are regular tendencies which reduce your ability to influence the behaviour of others. In other words, habits which reduce your power in any given situation.  

Now, it’s important to mention that having power is not the same as dominating someone. Power is about obtaining respect, and it is respect which gives rise to influence as you become a leader or authority that others look up to.  

Now, let’s delve into some habits that may be diminishing your power. 

3 Power Diminishing Habits 

There are an abundance of things one could do to diminish power and authority, however these were at the top of our list.  

1. Thanking People for their Time 

The first power diminishing habit is thanking people for their time. This seems strange at first, because it is polite to thank someone for their time right? However in a bid to be polite your inadvertently giving up power.

When you thank someone for their time, it sends a subconscious message which says “Your time is more valuable than mine!”. What’s the problem here? Well, when another person perceives his or her time as more valuable than yours, you lose authority as whatever expert your supposed to be. Your an expert in your own right, a meeting is also a utilitisation of your own time.

We’re not saying don’t be polite. You can still do so without diminishing power and authority.

One way to tackle this is to start changing your vocabulary. Instead of saying “thank you for your time”, start saying things like:  

  • “It’s great to meet you, let’s get started”. 
  • “I’m excited to be here!”
  • “I had a great time chatting with you today”.  

2. Using Protector/Filler Words  

The second power diminishing habit is using protector words like “just” and “only”. These words reduce the importance and the impact of anything you say.  

One example where this habit might come into play is when you’re writing an email to follow up with someone, and you write something along the lines of “I’m just following up on my below email”.  

In this example, you are downplaying the importance of your e-mail and softening your request for a response.  

On the other hand, a response like the following would work better: “I’m following up on my below email”. Simply by taking the word ‘just’, out, you are able to change the important of the message completely. By being more incisive with your sentences, you’re guaranteed to be more effective as a communicator. 

3. Not Addressing People by their Name 

Haha, don’t do a “Jarvis” 

This one is less about losing power and more about missing a great opportunity to increase your own power and presence in a meeting.

Do you find yourself in a meeting with someone and only stating their name once or twice during the conversation? If this is the case, then you’re potentially diminishing your power relative to someone else.

When you address someone by their name, you are directly calling that person out, and it has a few different effects, including:  

  • It acts as a sign of courtesy, which raises the respect the other person has for you 
  • It makes people feel respected, and when they feel respected, they’re more likely to respect you 
  • It immediately commands attention from not only them, but also anyone else in the meeting 
  • It has an added benefit of preventing team members looking at their phones during virtual meetings, because they now know they can be called upon at any given moment. 

When others in your team respect you more, you increase your power in terms of your ability to influence, allowing you to be an effective leader. Keep in mind that this doesn’t necessarily mean being the most powerful one in the call, but instead it is about communicating in a way that makes you an ‘authoritative peer’. Everyone is equal, but in a call that you’re leading, people know that you’re the director – that you’re the leader of the band.  

What About Good Habits? 

So far, we’ve discussed the habits that you absolutely need to avoid in order to prevent your power from being diminished. However, what about good habits?  

There is a tonne of habits that can aid you in your life. However, the most important habit, which reigns above all, which if you can master would make all the difference, is the habit of creating and maintaining habits.  

When you become good at intentionally deciding what habits you want to have in your life and you can build these at will, you’ve mastered this skill. By mastering the habit creation skill, you gain the ability to transform your life into whatever you please, which is EXACTLY why this habit is at the top of the list of good habits to have in your life. 

But, How Can You Master the Habit Creation Power? 

Developing good habits makes you feel on top of the world. 

Whenever you’re presented with a problem, the easiest way to overcome that problem is to break it down to its tiniest level, and then to tackle the tiny version of that problem. If you can do that, then you can change the world.  

So, when we think about the habit creation skill, we must break this idea down into its smallest version. If the fullest version of the habit creation power is the ability to create as many habits as we like, when we want to, and to stick by these habits, then the smallest version of the habit creation power is the ability to create JUST ONE habit, and to get it right, consistently. And that right there, is the problem that we need to tackle in order to master the habit creation power.  

It’s the same idea as growing a business – the first sale is always harder to make than the 100th, but if you can make the first, then you can rinse and repeat. The key is to scrap the idea of reaching your goal of 100 sales and break it down so that you only have to focus on just one sale, and then, once you make that sale, it’s as simple as rinsing and repeating 100 times.  

Similarly, in this case, we’re aiming to gain the ability to create and manage habits at will, but by breaking it down, we’re only now focusing on creating just one habit.  

Now that we have the goal clear, how do we actually create a habit? There are four steps to creating a habit and making it work:  

  1. Making sure that the habit aligns with our values and helps us reach our longer-term goals. We can do this by thinking about what our life would look like if we completed this habit every day for a year.  
  1. Have a mini version of the habit. For example, if the habit you want to develop is exercising for an hour every morning, then the mini version of that habit is just three minutes of exercise every morning. On those days when you’re unmotivated or when all things go wrong, you pull the mini version of the habit out of your pocket and do just that. In this way, you develop a winning mindset which tells you that when you say you’re going to do something, you do it. This then sets you up to build more habits in the future and helps you build your first habit even when things get chaotic in your life.  
  1. Set a trigger for your habit, but make sure the trigger is something that already exists. For example, using the exercise scenario as an example, you would want to ask, what things am I already doing in the morning, every single morning? You might say that every morning without fail you wash your face. So, the trigger to doing exercise becomes wetting your face – after you wet your face, you go and do your exercise habit. This is called habit stacking, but what we’re doing here is using already pre-existing habits in our lives to support new habits that we want to build.  
  1. Track your habit. It’s of utmost importance to track your habit! The only way you can improve is by seeing data. On top of this, it acts as proof for your brain that this is just something that you do, and eventually, it becomes ingrained into your life as normality. Tracking also keeps you accountable, which leads us to our next point.  
  1. Get an accountability partner. In order for this to truly work, you need to keep yourself accountable, and one of the best ways to do this is to get an accountability partner who makes sure you do your habit every single day (yes, the mini version of the habit counts!) 
  1. Use rewards. You should set milestones for yourself and reward yourself when you reach a milestone. You should have pre-set rewards in place before you get started. Try picking something you absolutely love doing for a reward. Your reward could be as simple as binging on your favourite food for dinner.  
  1. Make sure you do the habit for at least 66 days. The book ‘The One Thing’ tells us that science says it takes at least 66 days for a habit to begin being ingrained into our minds. After you’ve done your habit for 66 days, you can add another habit, and repeat the process, while maintaining the initial habit you built.  

In this way, you can successfully develop your first habit as well as many more, building up your habit creation power.  

So, what’s next? 

We talked about what power diminishing habits are, some key examples of these and how to avoid them, and how to develop good habits in your life. Now, you should be equipped to avoid these power diminishing habits and build new, positive habits in your life. 

If you’re still interested in habits, we recommend checking out these books:  

If you want to see some of our articles around business and marketing, check out our resources page.

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